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A myriad of factors can affect the quantity and quality of sleep, such as: B. Your eating plan, the position you sleep in, and what you consume before bed. And since sleep deprivation is linked to a number of health risks, including anxiety and depression, getting enough sleep is a critical part of living a healthy life. But how much sleep is enough isn’t exactly an easy question to answer when you consider sleep needs according to age changes over a person’s life.
“As we get older, we need less sleep,” says sleep expert Sophie Bostock, PhD, in a video that focuses on how much sleep we need as we age. And according to National Sleep Foundation guidelines, that number depends on which of nine different life stages a person is in: newborn (0 to 3 months), infant (4 to 11 months), toddler (1 to 2 years), preschool (3 to 4 years old), school age (5 to 12 years old), teenager (13 to 17 years old), young adult (18 to 25 years old), adult (25 to 65 years old) and older adult (over 65 years old).
One big reason sleep is needed due to the age shift has to do with the reality of a growing person. âInfants and children need more sleep than adults because of the processes that support neurological development and growth. Once we reach adulthood, the need for sleep doesn’t change much, âsays sleep doctor Tracey L. Stierer, MD, FAASM, assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Stierer adds that the guideline for people over 18 is seven to nine hours of sleep, which decreases to seven to eight hours after age 65.
“Infants and children require more sleep than adults because of the processes that support neurological development and growth.” âTracey L. Stierer, MD
Sleep doctor Michael Breus, PhD, sleep advisor at Oura for sleep health technology, adds that the reasons we sleep differently before age 18 are due to “medical problems, environment, [and] Substance Abuse “in addition to age. But ultimately, the amount of sleep a person needs – regardless of whether they are a “short sleeper” and need no more than a few hours or the human incarnation of Sleeping Beauty – is the amount that makes them feel healthy and rested.
“I always try to explain to people that the amount of sleep you need is tailored for you,” says Dr. Breus. If you miss this amount, it may be advisable to seek treatment from a trained doctor. Read on to find out how much sleep is recommended for each stage of life to help you feel most energetic.
Newborns, infants, preschoolers and school-age children: 9 to 17 hours
“Before birth, [babies] spend most of the time sleeping, âsays Dr. Taurus, adding that this largely continues into the first few weeks of life. “Newborns continue to sleep for most of the night and day, waking up every one to three hours to feed, and sleeping an average of 14 to 17 hours or more in a 24-hour period.”
As the baby grows, they will need less frequent feeding and, after about 4 months, they will only need 12 to 15 hours of sleep a day, according to the National Sleep Foundation. By the age of one year, the National Sleep Foundation notes that most toddlers are able to sleep 10 to 12 hours a night without waking, in addition to one or two naps for a total of 11 to 14 hours of daily sleep.
“Small children, who usually take a nap once in the morning and once in the afternoon, will usually only take one nap in the afternoon when they are around 18 months old,” says Dr. Bull. âPreschoolers aged 3 to 5 need around 10 to 13 hours, including a nap. Preschoolers, ages 3 to 5, take around 10 to 13 hours, including afternoon nap. And by the age of 6, most children stop napping and should sleep 9 to 12 hours at night. “
Teenagers: 8 to 10 hours
“Tea anglers typically need eight to ten hours of sleep every night,” says Dr. Bostock, who adds that few people at this stage of life tend to actually keep the recommended amount of sleep given the increased responsibility and worry that can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest.
“At the age of 12, it is not uncommon for children to have more than one night a week with too little sleep,” says Dr. Bull. “Only about half of all children in the US get the recommended nine hours of sleep each night, with teenagers making up the highest percentage of those chronically sleep deprived.”
Adolescence also tends to mark a shift in a person’s circadian rhythm or your natural day-night body clock. “It’s delayed, which means you have to go to bed later and wake up later in the day,” says Dr. Bull.
Adults: 7 to 9 hours
“When we have reached adulthood at 18 years of age and older, we need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep per night – although this can vary from person to person,” says Dr. Bull.
She adds “With even more responsibility, adults face similar problems as children when it comes to competing priorities and poor sleeping habits. Additionally, [adults also] combat physiological causes such as sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, sleepwalking and other parasomnias. Bull.
Seniors: 7 to 8 hours
“When we are around 60 years old, our circadian rhythm changes similarly to teenagers, but in the opposite direction,” says Dr. Bull. “At around 65 years of age, we become less like the juvenile ‘night owl’ and more like a ‘morning lark’, which means that this age group tends to sleep and wake up earlier.”
Indicators that we need more sleep – at all ages
“The external signs of insufficient sleep can be irritability, memory and concentration problems, mood swings, difficulty staying awake, decreased motivation and slowed reaction times,” says Dr. Bull.
Once you notice these symptoms, Dr. Bostock does two things to manage your sleep needs – regardless of your age. First, âFall asleep when you feel sleepy, and not Set up an alarm. After a few nights of catching up on your sleep debts, you should settle into your natural sleep window, âsays Dr. Bostock.
The second is more of an experiment: âTrack your sleep for at least a week with a portable tracker or just a diary with pen and paper. Then experiment with bringing your bedtime up about 20 minutes. See what happens for two weeks. âFrom there, you not only have a better idea of ââhow much sleep you need, but also your ideal bedtime.
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